Monday, May 29, 2023  |



Klitschko has no trouble with Gomez, retains title

Fighters Network

Vitali Klitschko wore down Juan Carlos Gomez – and put him down twice – before stopping the former cruiserweight titleholder at 1:49 of the ninth round Saturday in Stuttgart, Germany.

Klitschko, making the first defense of the WBC heavyweight, had some trouble with the experienced, but smaller southpaw early in the fight but took control and ultimately pounded the will out of the challenger, who finished the fight with cuts over both eyes.

It wasn’t as easy as his KO victory over Samuel Peter in October, when he won the title, but it was a one-sided fight nonetheless.

Klitschko (37-2, 36 knockouts) and his brother, Wladimir Klitschko (IBF and WBO), hold three of the four major heavyweight titles.

“I hope that you see the Klitschkos keep going all through the year and into next year as well,” an extremely pleased Vitali Klitschko said in the ring after the fight.

Gomez (44-2, 35 KOs) was cut over his right eye in the fifth round and Klitschko was cut on his head, above the hairline, the following round.

By the seventh, Klitschko had taken firm control of the fight. Midway through that round, he landed a half-upper cut with his right hand that knocked Gomez to one knee. Gomez was hurt and apparently discouraged but survived.

“I hit him with a good shot,” Klitschko said. “ÔǪ I tried to do it [the knockout] quick but he took the shots well.”

Klitschko continued the onslaught in the eighth, at one point forcing Gomez to turn his back to avoid further punishment, but it was in the ninth that the bigger man finished the job.

Klitschko put Gomez down again with a right, followed up with a non-stop flurry and, when it was obvious that Gomez was helpless, the referee ended the fight.

Klitschko is rated No. 2, behind his brother, by THE RING.

In an earlier bout, former heavyweight titleholder Chris Byrd, fighting at cruiserweight, stopped Mathias Sandow in the fourth-round of a scheduled eight-round bout.